Along with spring practice, one of the annual rites this time of year is suspensions from said practice for various off-field issues.
USF is the latest program to pull the trigger on the non-punitive punitive measure, announcing that three players have been indefinitely suspended by new head coach Willie Taggart. The trio consists of wide receivers Terrence Mitchell and Chris Dunkley, along with running back Bradley Battles.
Taggart said each of the players will have the opportunity to return to the team, but will first have to prove they deserve something that’s a right and not a privilege.
“They could be back. They have to do something, do what it takes to get back out there,” Taggart said by way of Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. “They can be back. They’re not just going to get on this team. You don’t just get on this team any kind of way. They have to make sure they’re doing their part to be on this football team.”
Mitchell last season finished second on the Bulls in receptions (31) and receiving yards (414). Auman notes, however, that the new coaching staff had already decided to move Mitchell to cornerback. The fact that Mitchell will likely miss most if not all of spring practice will certainly hinder his transition to the defensive side of the ball.
Dunkley transferred to USF from Florida in May of 2011 and sat out that season to satisfy NCAA rules. In September of last year, Dunkley, who played in the first five games in 2012, was charged domestic violence in late September and was suspended from the program a day later. It’s unclear if his latest suspension is merely a continuation of the first one or is the result of a new incident.
Each of the past two seasons, Battles has missed game-time due to suspensions.